POLITICS > Israel's apology to shift Mideast balances: Turkish PM

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The calculations in the Mideast have changed after Israel’s apology to Turkey for the deadly Mavi Marmara raid, PM Erdoğan says, adding that the act will require Turkey in the peace process

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Turkish PM Erdoğan says Israel’s apology
to Turkey has changed the equation
in the Middle East peace process. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkish PM Erdoğan says Israel’s apology to Turkey has changed the equation in the Middle East peace process. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Israeli apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident changed equation in the Middle East peace process as the bilateral deal obligates Israel to cooperate with the Turkish government over this process, the prime minister has said.

“The point we have arrived at as a result of our consultations with all our brothers in Palestine and peripheral countries is increasing our responsibility with regard to solving the Palestinian question and thus is bringing about a new equation,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in his address to his lawmakers yesterday at the Parliament. Erdoğan added that Israel agreed to make cooperation with Turkey on carrying out talks with Palestine for the Middle East peace process.

He said all his regional interlocutors, including Khaled Mashaal of the Hamas, admit that a new era has begun in the Middle East what they all call after Turkish victory on Israeli apology.

Erdoğan outlined the details of his phone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama that brought about the long-expected Israeli apology to Turkey over the killings of nine Turkish citizens on the board of the Mavi Marmara vessel carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Erdoğan said his conversation with Netanyahu took place under the witness of Obama but he wanted first to talk with the US President as he missed his voice.

“I talked to him and we have reviewed the text and confirmed the (apology) process. we have therefore accomplished this process under Obama’s witness,” Erdoğan said, adding this phone conversation has also been recorded alongside with written statements issued from all three sides. “We have made the process safe.”

President Abdullah Gül did also make a statement on Israeli apology during his joint press conference with visiting Cameron President Paul Biya yesterday, depicting rather a more cautious stance. “Israel did what it had to do. Therefore I express my contentment of it,” he said but he also added: “The issue is still very fresh, let’s all wait. This is just a first step.”

Apologizing for the Mavi Marmara killings, Israel did also accept to pay compenstaion to the families of the victims and remove its blockade on Gaza. Technical talks on how the compesnation will be piad will be discussed in april between senior diplomats of both countries as part of the deal recahed between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Erdoğan repeated that they will closely follow the implementation of this deal and he would visit Gaza and West Bank in April in order to witness the blockade imposed by Israeli government. “Turkey will continue to do its best for the reconstruction of Gaza and for overcoming humanitarian problems,” he said, underlining that Turkey’s approach towrds Israel will depend on Israeli fulfillment of its commitments.

“This apology and steps (to be taken by Israel) will of course not bring our martyrs massacred on the Mavi Marmara board back to us and will not compensate inhuman treatments towards Palestine for decades. But I believe this apology is very important for the memory of ours and Palestine’s martyrs,” he added. Recalling his talks with Meshaal, Erdoğan said the Hamas leader expressed his happiness out of the development and said he really felt affected. The two have also agreed to meet in Palestine during Erdoğan’s soon-to-be made visit.

Slamming CHP over Israeli stance

Underlining that almost everyone in Turkey and in near-by countries felt proud and joy after Israeli apology except for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leadership, Erdoğan called his main political rival to adopt a more national stance on foreign policy issues.

“The CHP preferred to align itself with the aggressors instead of his own nation. And it attacked on us using the same language with Israel,” he claimed. Arguing that the same non-national stance of the CHP is also seen now on Syria, Erdoğan criticized the CHP for preferring to be on the same picture with tyrants like Behar al-Assad.

“Even Israel apologized but this CHP will never do so,” he added, calling all oppositional parties to share the same great vision they have.


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Notice on comments

Dennis Kavaz

3/28/2013 6:44:30 AM

Regardless what Mr Erdugan or any other Muslim nation says for that mater; for so long the Israelis have the Western alliance on their side they will continue to claim as in the past (since 1948 to be precise) that Palestine was empty without people, waiting for people without land, and what the done since (stealing more of Palestine) And still continue accusing the Palestinians that, don’t’ want peace and without cause are firing rockets Israel.

james headington

3/27/2013 9:47:32 PM

I think there is plot hatched by Israel and backed by the US to destabilise the region by arming and fuelling an uprising by Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Iran to fight those countries. Recent peace with PKKK is also part of the same plan so that the Kurd would not attack Turkey. In return Turkey will provide logistic supports for the Kurds which can be easily armed from inside Iraq. This plan may work in the short term but I am sure in the long run Turkey will be dragged into the conflict too.

Blue Beyond

3/27/2013 8:23:05 PM

The Turkish PM dreams in technicolour.

Bear Klein

3/27/2013 7:42:59 PM

Sorry Gaza blockade enforce. Military stuff NO WAY. FOOD - Clothes sure why not. Nothing changed except Israel extended the hand of friendship which Erodgan is spitting on. What a surprise!

Hakan C

3/27/2013 7:34:18 PM

@ Vargen Vargen - Ehud Barak and even Netanyahu was willing to apologize quite some time ago. What has changed in the equation is Lieberman. It was he that always blocked such moves, but as he is out of the government, the opportunity presented itself...

Arnold Yesovitch

3/27/2013 7:09:54 PM

Erdogan is milking this for all it's worth. Cannot blame him after all he is a politician.

delia ruhe

3/27/2013 5:53:41 PM

I can hardly blame the commenters here for their skepticism, as there is undoubtedly a quid pro quo we know nothing about yet. But it seems to me that in Israel it has finally sunk in that Israel has no friends in the Muslim world, and that the US is not prepared to go to war in Iran for Israel's sake -- despite all that fulsome praise poured on Israel by Obama. But it seems clear that Obama gave Bibi no choice but to apologize and work out some kind of compensation with Edogan.


3/27/2013 5:44:27 PM

Practicalities have won out in the relationships between Israel and Turkey. The apology and promised compensation to the families of the victims is a first step towrds reconciliation. Practical necessities require that Turkey and Israel cooperate both millitarily and economically.So, this is a first step in that direction. Let's hope that this cooperation will lead to reconciliation between Israel and Hamas, a peace treaty with the PLO;A 2 state solution and a lifting of the embargo against Gaza

Rimon Tree

3/27/2013 5:44:05 PM

LOL! It is as I said! The Arabs will stop Erdogan with his ME leadership visions! The palestinians just announced that they do not want the presence of Erdogan in Gaza! Now, Mr. Proud, how does that go with your megomania?

Faruk Timuroglu

3/27/2013 4:17:11 PM

Few day ago RTE slammed CHP as being nationalist, now slams it for not aligning with his own nation. Clearly, the former was Turkish nation that he abolished with help from its foes, which was founded with an anti-imperialist war, and latter is the new one that he is founding in association with PKK leader Öcalan, Netanyahu, and Obama.
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